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In the constantly changing world of work, it is becoming increasingly clear that equality, inclusion and diversity are incredibly important social values, as well as being crucial factors for winning over the greatest talent. The principles of diversity and inclusion have become indisputable cornerstones of a successful HR strategy. This article exemplifies why equality, inclusion and diversity, and equal opportunities are important for staff members as well as for the overall success of a company.

What does equality, inclusion and diversity mean within talent management?

Diversity refers to the variety of characteristics represented in a group, such as the staff of a company, in terms of gender, nationality, ethnic heritage, sexual orientation, age, or other characteristics. The concept of inclusion means to create a working environment in which everyone is respected, supported and valued, regardless of the ways in which they differ from one another.

While diversity in the workplace aims to ensure staff members are representative of a variety of demographics, inclusion goes one step further and focuses on creating a company culture in which staff members can grow to their full potential. Both aspects are closely connected and essential to a positive working environment.

Diversity begins with the recruiting process

When recruiting and hiring new talent, it is important to focus on diversity. This means actively searching for diverse candidates and including them in the recruiting process. Inclusion will be the next step to make sure that diversity not only exists but is encouraged.

A powerful source of innovation and productivity

Integrating equality, inclusion and diversity into talent management is more than just taking social responsibility. Companies who deliberately embed those principles into their strategy have an advantage compared to their competition. Diverse teams offer ideal conditions for creative ideas and innovative solutions and therefore can adjust better to changing market conditions. Diversity supports employee satisfaction, as well as boosting productivity and employees’ commitment. Therefore, it is not only an investment in social responsibility, but also an important factor for sustainable success.

Benefits of inclusive workplaces: diverse teams strengthen company success

Numerous studies, including one conducted by renowned business consults McKinsey, show that greater diversity leads to a better company performance. Its findings show that companies with diverse teams have a 12% higher chance of financial success, with ethnic diversity in particular improving the chance of high performance. Any company with better turnovers compared to the previous year had a systematic approach to actively promoting equality inclusion and diversity. Diversity alone is not enough – inclusion also contributes to success. A company that is not only diverse but also inclusive creates an atmosphere in which all its staff can succeed, working together at the top of their game to achieve excellent results.

Access to a more versatile talent pool through diversity

There will be significantly more candidates to choose from if the search considers diversity in terms of gender, nationality, ethnic heritage, sexual orientation, age and other characteristics. A diverse talent pool makes it much easier to identify qualified candidates to win for the company. It also means that certain attributes won’t become selection criteria or deal breakers. A diverse hiring process is not about the numbers of staff who belong to each demographic, but about objectively finding and supporting the greatest talents.

Equality, inclusion and diversity enhance employee retention

We live in a diverse world. So, a culture of inclusion is not only “nice to have“ but it is an obligation. It is no secret that staff members are happier, more motivated, and more productive if they feel appreciated by their employer. It is this emotional connection that encourages employees to stick with their company in the long run. This, in turn, massively reduces the fluctuation rate – not only an economic advantage but also a sign of a healthy company culture. It’s not enough to have the appearance of being a diverse and inclusive company. These values should be close to the heart of the organisation and considered at all stages of decision making. Equal opportunities necessitate creating a space in which every voice is heard and respected.

Increasing innovation potential

Incorporating various backgrounds and levels of experience into your workforce will fuel creativity and innovation. Any team will be strengthened by a broad variety of ideas, perspectives and approaches – employers who know this will always be one step ahead of their competitors.

Picture with 3 circles representing inclusion at the workplace

Promoting social responsibility and equality

To create a positive working environment, there needs to be respect and equality for all staff. Another benefit of any company who supports diversity and inclusion is that by doing so, they are building a company culture that prioritises its staff members’ well-being and mental health. A company that is committed to values like equality carries this out by taking care of its staff, as well as by encouraging them to get involved in social responsibility activities themselves. Sustainable productivity depends upon employees feeling listened to and valued and knowing that the company is invested in their well-being.

Further measures to support equality, inclusion and diversity

Targeted measures are crucial for promoting equality, inclusion and diversity in a company in the long term. In addition to the methods previously mentioned, companies should take action with further initiatives that establish an inclusive corporate culture and support individual career development.

Targeted integration of new employees

Inclusion doesn’t end with signing a hiring contract – this is only the start. An inclusive onboarding process helps new staff members to find their place in the company and it makes them feel appreciated as a team member from day one. Of course, onboarding is about providing information on company processes, but this stage of the hiring process should also recognise and enhance the new employees‘ individual strengths and skills. It should establish a bond between colleagues and within teams, making collaboration and the exchange of information easier. This is the basis for long-term commitment, team spirit, and ultimately, for the success of the whole company.

On-the-job training for equality, inclusion and diversity

Training courses help to reduce prejudices. By helping staff to develop their understanding of diverse perspectives, the company lays the foundation for an inclusive work environment. Training courses play a crucial role in encouraging the staff’s active participation in building a diverse and inclusive company culture. It’s vital for both the staff and the management team, because a clear understanding and incorporation of diversity and inclusion principles at the management level establishes the framework for the entire organisation.

Establishing an inclusive company culture

Establishing an inclusive company culture needs clear strategic direction and continuous commitment. The following steps can help to make this journey a success:

1. Accessibility
Accessibility of internal platforms and websites is crucial for inclusion and equal opportunities. Digital gateways, information, and resources should be accessible to everyone, irrespective of skills or limitations. They need to be usable without external help. Accessibility contains high-contrast colors, descriptive audio tracks, or subtitles. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) offer detailed guidelines and instructions for implementation.

2. Setting and monitoring goals
The first step towards inclusion in companies is setting explicit goals. Goals should be ambitious and measurable. By constantly monitoring and adjusting goals, they serve as a roadmap for the course of the company.

3. Building legal and cultural groundwork
Developing an inclusive culture requires clear intentions and practical steps. Adjusting and frequently checking working regulations and guiding principles ensures a legal groundwork that supports the goals of the company. At the same time, it enables the creation of a cultural basis which actively promotes diversity and inclusion.

Tailor-made mentoring and coaching for career development

Career development is as individual as every human being. Individual coaching helps to enhance the diversity of talents.

By offering diversity-focused training and development programs for employees, companies support equality and actively boost different career paths. These programs should consider individual strengths and challenges and support sustainable career development. By giving every employee access to individual development resources, they have equal opportunities for growth and career success.

Picture with 3 circles, each representing 2 people working together

Challenges of the implementation process

It can be quite challenging to implement changes within a company, especially in the context of diversity and inclusion. It is an evolving process that shapes not only individual attitudes but also the whole business to eventually leaves a lasting effect. The following two major aspects require special attention:

Deeply rooted prejudices and stereotypes
Unfortunately, there are still prejudices surrounding diversity and inclusion. It is like breaking old habits – a continuous and often long process. It is not easy to overcome barriers quickly, so sustainable changes need time and a persistent approach. But prejudices can be dismantled step by step through training, awareness-raising campaigns, and communication.

Obstacles due to fear of change
Fear of change is a human phenomenon that often goes hand in hand with uncertainty and concerns about the unknown. Implementing diversity and inclusion measures means change, and change can provoke resistance. Make sure to communicate effectively, and establish clear goals and transparent processes to address concerns. This will help build a company-wide positive attitude towards the important progress that is being made.

The road to success: understanding the opportunity of diversity and inclusion

Companies are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of diversity and inclusion, and they understand it is not only a matter of social responsibility but also a strategy towards success.

Diverse and inclusive teams are the key to innovation, creativity, and long-lasting success. They bring in a wide range of ideas and perspectives; they enhance innovation and contribute to employee satisfaction.

At Coople, we believe in the power of diversity. With an impressive number of registered workers, we give companies access to a diverse talent pool. This diversity offers the opportunity to perfectly complement teams and lead the way to a successful, future-orientated working environment.